Grand Targhee is a ski and snowboard resort located an hour east of BYU-Idaho in the small town of Alta, Wyoming. Known for its one-of-a-kind snow and views of the Tetons, Grand Targhee offers a small-town, affordable option to enjoy the mountains compared to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Student passes were originally $370 during the annual April sale. The replacement of a young adult discount caused the prices to rise to $509 during the month of April, $609 from May 1 to Sept. 30 and $899 on Oct. 1, according to Grand Targhee’s website.
Nate Hollingshaus, a junior studying software engineering, was one of the many students from BYU-I affected by this change. To show student backlash toward the removal of the discount, he created an online petition.
“I just wanted to show Targhee how much business they would be missing out on if they didn’t reinstate this pass,” Hollingshaus said. “Maybe if Targhee saw how much this would affect the students and how upset people were, they would reconsider.”
Lack of communication was the most frustrating part of the change for BYU-I students, specifically for those who have been going to Targhee for years.
“Most of my friends and I that have always bought that pass and have been doing it for two to three years,” Hollingshaus said. “I felt like it was a little disrespectful to those kids. There should have been some sort of formal email to those that did have one of the student passes.”
Halle Jae, brand and advertising manager at Grand Targhee, gave clarity on why student passes were discontinued.
“We were having a ton of issues with pass fraud and identifying who was a student, what it meant to be a student and what was fair to everyone,” Jae said. “I feel like there was a lot of controversy along the lines of who falls in this demographic of being able to use this huge discount.”
But college students were not the only reason for this change. Targhee has tailored the young adult pass toward 19 to 22-year-olds in Teton Valley.
“I do think that the kids that are working hard to pay rent in the valley now have this discount available to them,” Jae said. “Now they can ski and ride without being a full-time student and still getting a discount.”
After relaying reasons for ending the student discount, Hollingshaus explained that if Grand Targhee had put a statement explaining these issues, he would have had a different perspective.
“I’ll be honest, that makes sense,” said Hollingshaus. “I would have created a very different petition if I was provided that information … To students, it looks like they were just casting us out.”
Now in May, the season pass sale has ended, and students have come to terms with the young adult price.
“I think at the end of the day, you’ve got to move on,” said Hollingshaus. “I realized I’m married — I got other expenses to pay, and I might not be able to buy a season pass this year. I do think it would be good to have this conversation with Targhee to explain why we were frustrated.”
Skylar Kauf, marketing manager at Grand Targhee, indicated understanding toward those who are affected by the cancellation of the student discount. Kauf explained that Grand Targhee’s intention was not to kick college kids off the slopes but to combat pass fraud and increase inclusivity amongst young adults, specifically those in the Teton Valley.
Only time will tell if BYU-I students will continue the trek to Alta, Wyoming, this winter.
View Nate Hollingshaus’s petition here.